Mullin’ It Over: how the victims became the persecutors

Marlon Solomon
5 min readNov 19, 2020

It’s not an easy task to overstate the vindictiveness and hatred in these tweets from Chris Mullin, a former stalwart of the parliamentary Labour Left, but if they serve one useful purpose, it’s as a case study of all that makes antisemitism denial in Labour indistinguishable from the prejudice itself.

To break it down: the attack line on Margaret Hodge, the last remaining female Jewish MP from before Corbyn became leader, is her “dossier” which is something of folk lore in left-wing antisemitic politics. Over a few days, Hodge gathered some of the antisemitic abuse she got sent from people with Corbyn plastered on their social media profiles. In this upside down world (that is far from confined to the “fringes”) only 1 in 5 people in the dossier were able to be identified as Labour members . This is translated as not only vindication but a win. Of course by this point, the players have long bypassed the actual horror of what antisemitism is to Jewish people. A dot on the landscape in a rear view mirror.

If one hundred people with Corbyn tattoos spat antisemitic abuse at a Jew it would be indicative of nothing unless they carried a Labour membership card. Meaningless hysteria and the Jew can cry about it all day but it’s nothing to do with the face on the tattoo.

So this way of thinking goes.

So it becomes this.

Attacking Margaret Hodge, not for her political positions or actions but making her a culprit for being a victim of antisemitism. Racist rhetoric doesn’t come in much plainer terms.

And if you need to see it for yourself: how endemic this way of thinking is, this particular flavour of torment, this now involuntary response that switch Jewish victims to persecutors in the blink of an eye, take a look at what happens if you input “hodge dossier” into the search function of Twitter. That’s if you want to peer into the gates of hell of course, if not just take Mullin’s words seriously, it is a “famous” dossier.

It’s a mark of how adept antisemitism is as a virus: the thing about Labour in general I find the most tiresome is the endless bureaucracy. Antisemitism made hay with it; every episode, every horror story told by a Jewish woman mangled into procedural point or a decimal place.

Of course it came from Corbyn himself: his mea culpa, a piece to camera in summer 2018 could only exist on the proviso he made an earnest attempt to reduce antisemitism to a 0.1% problem. Always ensuring the culprits were thrown a bone they could in turn chuck back at those ‘hysterical’ Jews whilst nodding along with whatever vague denunciations of this “poison” Corbyn managed to cut and paste from his previous banalities.

All that we’ve been through, a fight we never wanted. For a lot of Jewish people: a total re-evaluation of their place in British society for the first time in their lives.

“It’s a 0.1% problem mate”.

All the rest to be waved away as Jewish histrionics. Corbyn cut to the chase before he’d even read the report: “dramatic overstatement” it was. Soon to be quantified somewhere, somehow, in an obscure poll or a percentage point. It’s a filthy business.

Credit here to the EHRC, this was something they identified as central to the problem and something which duly took minutes to materialise after the report’s release. To defend his vapid response which claimed antisemitism had been exaggerated, Corbyn’s defenders cited a poll written in an obscure book called ‘Bad News For Labour’ whose sole purpose was to minimise antisemitism: the authors a smorgasbord of conspiracy theorists, including “crankademic” David Miller who currently has Jewish students at the university he lectures at fearing for their safety due to the antisemitic rhetoric within his lectures.

To cut this sordid story short, just over 600 people in this one poll answered a question about what percentage of Labour members they thought had been suspended. Aside from the irrelevance of the question - no information about the size of the membership or what membership entails was given to respondents. Once the ‘don’t knows’ had been discounted, the respondents numbered 429 and a mean average of 34% of Labour members was produced. Within hours of a report that concluded the Labour Party under its last leadership had unlawfully discriminated and harassed Jewish people, his spokespeople jammed the airwaves to claim “the British public” believe that 200,000 members had been suspended for antisemitism.

Corbyn’s ex-spin doctor
A statement of support for Corbyn after the EHRC report and his subsequent suspension: signatories included John McDonnell, Yanis Varoufakis and Noam Chomsky

An ancient hatred reduced to the misrepresentation of a poll from a conspiracist tome to justify calling Jews idiots or liars. An antisemitic tale told by the guilty and lapped up by a horde.

It’s worth dwelling on this passage of Corbyn’s instant rebuke after the EHRC report:

It’s there in plain English. The slow processes and procedures for suspending people from Labour (which were rectified anyway) combined with hostile forces dramatically exaggerating the issue. This is what “hurt Jewish people.”

So you see what didn’t hurt Jewish people?

The actual antisemitism.

It’s a way of thinking about anti-Jewish prejudice that a scarily large swathe of people have now been indoctrinated with.

I still find it utterly shocking that more people aren’t shocked by this and chilled to the bone when pondering how many people fall for it and believe, like Corbyn does himself, that they are the victims.

But that’s all antisemitism has ever been: everyone else being persecuted by the Jews. A never-ending fairy story.



Marlon Solomon

Actor, drummer and very occasional blogger. Usually chuntering on about antisemitism.